Tag: Jarmson v. Jacobsen

"Gold-Plated" Cost of Future Care Report Judicially Criticized


(Update June 18, 2013 – the below judicial scrutiny survived review by the BC Court of Appeal)
Following recent judicial criticism of overly robust requests for future care costs, reasons for judgement were released last week by the BC Supreme Court, criticizing a “gold-plated” expert report.
In last week’s case (Jarmson v. Jacobsen) the Plaintiff was involved in a motorcycle accident.  Although he sustained serious injuries and was awarded significant damages at trial, his claimed damages for cost of future care was met with skepticism.  In criticizing the expert evidence on this point Mr. Justice Meiklem gave the following reasons:

[115]The defendant’s closing submission listed 20 items recommended by Ms. Landy that the defendant argued were not medically supported by any evidence at trial. I agree with that submission. Many of those items would require very significant outlays, for example, a van with a lifting device to transport an anticipated power mobility device.

[116]Mr. Hemmerling made other vigorous submissions challenging Ms. Landy’s impartiality and objectivity and her reliance on facts and opinions not in evidence, and criticizing her for travelling to Dubai to interview witnesses already interviewed by counsel, knowing that Mr. Jarmson would soon be relocating. I would not go so far as to agree that  Ms. Landy became an advocate specifically for the plaintiff in this case, but it is a fair comment that she seemed to advocate an expansion of the types of items and services claimable as future care costs under the law.

[117]Ms. Landy did rely on facts, opinions and assumptions not in evidence, and in some instances her costing displayed a discomforting lack of care. An example of the latter is her costing of Dragon Naturally Speaking voice recognition software and instruction at $2,500 when that software and an instructional disc are readily available for $99, as advertized on the distributor’s website.

[118]Ms. Landy acknowledged during cross-examination that she would defer to the contrary views of Dr. Travlos or other doctors in respect of some of her recommendations, such as recommending laser eye surgery to avoid the problem of dropping or damaging contact lenses due to hand tremors which Dr. Travlos cannot attribute to his injuries.

[119]Ms. Landy’s Life Care Plan is not just a Cadillac; it is a gold-plated one, which goes far beyond what is reasonable. For example, her recommendation of one-to-one rehabilitation support for 10 hours weekly, (essentially to replicate what his wife, who has been his constant workout partner, has always done) is unsupported by medical opinions other than her own, and would cost $21,600 per year. The present value of that expense alone is over $338,000. With all its shortcomings, I cannot accord Ms. Landy’s recommendations very much weight in my assessment, other than to provide a checklist for comparison and thoroughness.

$230,000 Non-Pecuniary Damage Assessment for Severe Traumatic Brain Injury

Reasons for judgement were released this week by the BC Supreme Court, Vernon Registry, assessing fault and damages as a result of a 2008 motor vehicle collision.
In this week’s case (Jarmson v. Jacobsen) the Plaintiff was riding a motorcycle with his daughter when a vehicle operated by the Defendant turned into his path of travel.  Although the Defendant denied fault the Court found his evidence “wholly unreliable” and found him fully responsible for the crash.  The collision resulted in multiple injuries to the Plaintiff including a shoulder injury, a knee injury and a severe traumatic brain injury.
Global damages of over $1 million were assessed including non-pecuniary damages of $230,000.  The consequences of the head trauma were expected to have significant effects on the Plaintiff’s long term functioning both vocationally and domestically.  The full discussion surrounding this assessment is too lengthy to reproduce here but the following key findings were made with respect to the severity of injury were made by Mr. Justice Meiklem:

[54] Dr. Miller’s DSM IV diagnostic formulation included personality disorder due to traumatic brain injury and an adjustment disorder with mixed features of anxiety and depressed mood. Based on neurological indices of severity, Mr. Jarmson suffered a severe traumatic brain injury.

[55] A further indication of the severity of the injury to Mr. Jarmson’s brain is gleaned from the evidence of Dr. Gary Stimac, a diagnostic neuroradiologist, who testified and reviewed with the court many of the scanned CT and MRI images of Mr. Jarmson’s brain. These consisted of CT images taken at Kelowna General Hospital at intervals of about 9 hours, 40 hours, and 5½ days after the collision, and a complex set of MRI images obtained April 5, 2011. Dr. Stimac’s written report of August 15, 2011(p. 5-6) notes that:

The radiology examinations, in conjunction with emergency evaluations, establish that Mr. Jarmson sustained severe injury to the head. The immediate and subsequent CT scans show the left frontal impact and the coup-contrecoup contusions. The later MRI shows diffuse brain atrophy, evidence of white matter scarring, encephalomalacia, and hemosiderin deposits from the hemorrhagic contusions.

[56] Dr. Stimac explained that the atrophy he referred to is due to the absorption/removal of necrotic tissue…

[88] I find that the fair, reasonable, and appropriate award to compensate Mr. Jarmson for his non-pecuniary losses is $230,000.

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ERIK
MAGRAKEN

Personal Injury Lawyer

When not writing the BC Injury Law Blog, Erik is the managing partner at MacIsaac & Company, based in Victoria, B.C. He is also involved with combative sports regulatory issues and authors the Combat Sports Law Blog.

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